In the fall of 2007, a group of Greensburg High School students came together to officially form the Green Club. Working in concert with Greensburg GreenTown staff, they established a vision statement and formulated their initial goals. They had an ambitious agenda, accompanied by boundless enthusiasm and creative energy.
The Club had a vision of educating and inspiring people of all ages to learn about what "green" means. Their wish was for their message about conserving resources and living a sustainable lifestyle to have a ripple effect, both within and outside their community.
As The Green Club, we aspire to impact our community, nation, and world, by educating, inspiring, and involving people. Our aim is to help people become more efficient and to help bring balance to their inner and outer environments in order to help them into a greener future.
The group got started with their first community-oriented green activity in January 2008 when they picked up residents' Christmas trees for recycling. Over fifty trees were saved from going to the dump, and were turned into nourishing mulch for Greensburg's trees and plants. In February of that year they pinpointed three priorities they would focus on for the remainder of the school year: recycling, providing compact fluorescent light bulbs to residents, and community education.
In its first year The Green Club members were very active with the following activities: recycling at Greensburg High School; inspiring and educating people both locally and throughout the country; attending USGBC's national GreenBuild conference in Chicago; selling compact fluorescent light bulbs; helping Kansas State University architecture students with the Greensburg Cubed project and much more.
During the 2008-09 school year, the students decided they wanted to design and create something functional to give to the community. They landed on the idea of building a bench out of found objects from the area. With the guidance of volunteer and local artist Dustin Sypher, a beautiful bench was constructed. It contains reclaimed metal pieces and wood that was salvaged from trees damaged in the tornado and is located on the lawn in front of the 5.4.7 Arts Center.
During the 2009-10 school year, The Green Club continued to be active in school and community recycling projects, in educating and inspiring visitors about the Green Initiative, in visiting other schools to share experiences, and speaking with reporters about their take on the community's progress.
In the second semester they focused on a local initiative to encourage residents to choose reusable shopping bags over plastic or paper bags. They conducted research on this issue and educated folks about the hidden costs associated with the throwaway bags as well as created signage to be placed in local stores. The local KwikShop/Dillons grocery store helped by letting Club members survey shoppers’ bag choices and distribute reusable bags to the store’s patrons. The Club wanted the reduction of plastic bag usage to be part of their legacy, as most of them graduated that year.
In the fall of 2010 the new Kiowa County School opened and we officially passed the green club onto them. At this point, the club is in a state of transition as school administrators and staff get settled into their new building and deal with the issues of consolidating three school systems into one (Greensburg combined resources with two other communities in Kiowa County, Mullinville and Haviland, and created one school for the county). Presently, the club is inactive, but we are planning to work with school administrators to get the program running again when they are able to invest the time and resources needed into it. We believe working with students is an important step towards creating more sustainable communities and look forward to the Green Club’s rebirth.